Olympic Committee president guilty verdict on conflict of interest case finalized
The Supreme Court ruled that former Port of Tallinn supervisory board chairman and current Estonian Olympic Committee president Neinar Seli is guilty of overseeing donations by the port authority to the committee.
According to the verdict, classified as "an attempt to violate a procedural restriction," Seli, who headed the supervisory board and thus was responsible for state oversight of the company, voted in favor of allocating 250,000 euros to the committee he was heading.
Seli argued that he recused himself from the state-owned company's sponsorship committee and did not vote at the session in question. He admitted that he should have left the room and not continued to chair the meeting.
Anti-corruption legislation forbids a state official to participate in a vote if the vote can impact the interests of the particular person. The law is also breached if no financial damage is done. The main legal question of the trial was whether Seli was a state official or not. The court ruled that the anti-corruption law also implies to supervisory board members at state-owned companies.
Seli has previously said that if he is found guilty on the third court level, the Supreme Court, he will resign from the Olympic Committee.
Shortly after the verdict, Seli said he will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. In a statement, Seli said the case was revenge by Juhan Parts, former economy minister, adding that the 250,000 euros in question is pale in comparison to the 84.9 million Parts wasted on Estonian Air.
“Today's Supreme Court decision is like a nightmare, which does not want to end. Who wants to tie himself to the Estonian legal system? Soon, no one,” he said in reference to a statement recently made by suspended Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar.